Our War abroad...
The country has Osama bin Laden to thank for the rather
belated decision by Canada to ban the LTTE. No doubt that Canada opened
its eyes to the LTTE threat only after September 11th. This is not to take
away from Sri Lanka's unrelenting diplomatic efforts to ban the LTTE in
countries in which it maintains fund raising operations.
But such bans are to a great extent symbolic. The LTTE's halo as a national
liberation movement engaged in a somehow ennobled freedom struggle, gets
a battering due to this kind of international action. The governments which
impose these bans must ensure that the laws and the allied machinery moves
swiftly to cripple the operations of these organizations and that these
bans on terrorist groups operating in this part of the world are one only
ancillary to the West's pre-occupation with Islamic Jihad group. The global
war against terrorism will be invested with true meaning, if and only if
It is our understanding that by the end of this year, the European Union
too will ban the LTTE, following the US UK and now Canada. But, this optimistic
picture is due in no small measure to the current mood that the world is
in, after the WTC attacks in New York in September and the West's realisation
that countries such as Sri Lanka are accusing them of adopting double standards.
Even though the government is therefore gaining in its efforts against
terrorism abroad, the government cannot pat itself on the back with regard
to the political situation back home, or the military situation vis-…-vis
In this context, we should not be over optimistic about any immediate
consequence of the banning of the LTTE by world governments. At home, the
LTTE is deaf to these bans, blind to the global trends towards terrorism
as a means to the end, and dumb about coming for peace talks..
...and at home
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was quoted this week as saying that
domestic politics in the South has been a roadblock in the way of evolving
a solution to the country's burning national problem. To some extent there
is justification in the LTTE's position that there is no point negotiating
with one government when there is every possibility that a different government
that may come to power next will abrogate any agreement. At the same time,
there is evidence that the LTTE is getting ready for a major attack in
the North-East, in a bid to gain territory so that future bargaining can
be done from a position of strength.
In the national frenzy that is a precursor to the polls, all this seems
to be forgotten. The PA's accusation that the UNP is having a secret pact
with the LTTE, sounds the most ridiculous position emanating from the Babel
of voices in the polling arena. But the UNP seems to take all of it too
nonchalantly _ to the point of being lukewarm in its response until this
flurry of letters since Friday. For the UNP, what could have been removed
with the forger nail might in the end require major surgery. That's the
UNP's baby; but as a nation we know already that the LTTE cannot be handled
with kid gloves and have to constantly remind ourselves, that while the
campaign dust clouds our eyes, the Tiger is lurking, waiting to pounce.